Are we likable?

Joseph S. Nye, Jr. has developed a definition of Soft Power versus Hard Power.  Hard power is based on coercion (military, economic, etc.). Soft Power is based on creating a system others want to emulate.  He says,

“This soft power – getting others to want the outcomes that you want – co-opts people rather than coerces them.”

and

“When a country’s culture includes universal values and its policies promote values and interests that others share, it increases the relationship of attraction…”

“Narrow values and parochial cultures are less likely to produce soft power.”

So are we going about all this wrong?  Are we, with our polarization of politics and talk of enemies, making ourselves less likable and thereby less attractive to the rest of the world?

Once we were seen as the Yanks who came to save the day.  Then we became the worlds police force, or peacekeeping force.  But something seems to have changed, and often we are disliked more than liked. In our attempt to protect ourselves from bullies, have we crossed a line and become the bully?

Just something to ponder…

………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Nye, Joseph S., Jr. Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. New York: PublicAffairs Books, 2004.

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